Archive for October, 2010

Last week I had the pleasure of chatting with Robin Raskin, a long time friend of COMPUTER EXPLORERS and founder of Living in Digital Times. Robin is so many things and has accomplished so much in her 30+ years of involvement with technology. Here is a brief bio: conducted monthly TV tours with appearances on NBC Early Show, Live with Kelly and Regis, etc. She’s been the Editor in Chief of FamilyPC, editor of PC Magazine, and columnist for USA Today Online. Robin has authored six books for Random House, Simon and Schuster and Hyperion!

Here is  fun video of Robin with Warren Buckleitner in search of Computer Visionary for Kids@Play

Our conversation on Social Geek Radio focused on digital kids and digital citizenship. Robin believes we need to teach our children and students when and how to communicate. Life as we knew it with technology no longer exists and we need to be responsible adults, educators and software developers to keep our children safe and provide the proper tools needed.

Robin discussed Togetherville as a Facebook, Jr. site where kids can be part of a social environment and connect with chosen friends (approved by parents) and play games in a secure online environment. This is a site that helps ties families together.

Robin also discussed Zoodles, another safe online environment for families. Zoodles Storybook feature allows you to record yourself reading a classic story and the child can watch the reading as many times as they wish in their Playground. The COMPUTER EXPLORERS Technology Tuesday blast earlier this month reported that Zoodles launched their new mode for Android phones calling it “Kid Mode.” With their free Kid Mode app (available now in the Android Market), children 8 and under will have access to hundreds of age-appropriate games and videos. Parents will be able to relax knowing that their kids will no longer accidentally make calls, send emails or delete apps.

Robin shared a great deal on Social Geek Radio and o learn more about Robin, her conferences, exhibits, blog, and newsletters connect to her site

Watch this video of Robin with First Business Morning News discussing technology and how it helps kids learn by clicking here

If you want a free copy COMPUTER EXPLORERS Internet Safety Book for kids (ages 9-11) click on this link

Kids today live in a digital world and need to learn from us about internet safety and how to be good digital citizens!

Instructors Ericka & Sarah with Lorri, Cyndee, Charmayne & Deb

So, what is Zumba? According to – “The Zumba program fuses hypnotic Latin rhythms and easy-to-follow moves to create a one-of-a-kind fitness program that will blow you away. Our goal is simple: We want you to want to work out, to love working out, to get hooked. Zumba Fanatics achieve long-term benefits while experiencing an absolute blast in one exciting hour of calorie-burning, body-energizing, awe-inspiring movements meant to engage and captivate for life!”

A few months ago co-worker Charmayne Redd found a local program “Zumba with Sarah.” Cyndee Perkins,  Lorri Wyndham and I agreed to join her Mondays and Thursdays after work to get fit. You would think that after a full day with the same people the last thing we would want to do is sweat together. But we do and we enjoy every minute of it.

This weekend Sarah scheduled a Zumba Party in Pink supporting Susan B. Komen. For two hours we worked as hard as we could to support a cure for cancer. There are many organizations and ways to get involved, partner or sponsor events. You can find them on the Susan B. Komen link here.

Charmayne, Cyndee, Lorri and I did our part today but thought you might want to do your part. So for each new person that “likes” the COMPUTER EXPLORERS Facebook page we will donate $5 per person to Susan B. Komen.

Please help! We have one week beginning today until Friday, October 29th 5pm Central. Our goal is to send at least $50 to Susan B. Komen but will gladly send $100, $200, etc! Like our page and tell your friends about our promotion.

Friends that Zumba together, get fit together and sometimes it’s for a great cause!

We have all heard the phrase “It’s not personal, it’s business” but is it really? I don’t know about you but I build strong personal working relationships with my peers, team, franchisees, vendors, customers and business partners.  Due to the business working relationship friendships develop.

What happens if the business needs a separation or a termination? Personally, you still respect the individual and company but it’s no longer a good fit for your business? In the last few months I have experienced this particular dilemma. It is a very uncomfortable and stressful  situation but if handled openly and honestly the personal relationship is not affected.

The approach I take is to address the business principals that were originally established. The relationships I build are based on trust and mutual benefit. With a strong sense of trust both parties realize that the mutual benefit may no longer exist.  For the betterment of all parties a new strategy must be implemented and the separation is amicable.

It’s not personal, it’s business but it’s not always easy to separate the two.

Sincere Smile Wins Friends


Friends Kathy and Chris with Pete Rose


While visiting Las Vegas this week I stumbled upon Field of Dreams store where Pete Rose was signing autographs. I was with friends Chris and Kathy. We lived in New Jersey for years and it was great fun to meet up in Las Vegas and spend time together. Chris and Kathy are big sports fans and the opportunity to meet Pete Rose was exciting for them. There was a small hitch to meeting Mr. Rose.  There was a requirement of a purchase of a baseball for $99, shirt for $329 or his book which I think was $200. Chris was ok with the requirement and was happy to purchase a souvenir baseball in order to meet Mr. Rose.

While Chris was making his purchase I stood just a few feet from Mr. Rose who not once acknowledged me. The Field of Dreams store representative on the other hand greeted me with a big warm smile. He opened a conversation asking about my visit and shared some great tips about Vegas and points of interest. We even discussed Foursquare as I was checking in and he was totally interested as I demonstrated how to add the venue. Mr. Rose sat staring at the flat screen monitor intently watching a football game completely ignoring us.

When Chris and Kathy presented the baseball and introduced themselves they barely received a handshake. I was the official paparazzi ready to take great photos of Chris and Kathy enthusiastically meeting one of baseball greats. There I stood with camera in hand asking Mr. Rose if he could “please smile” for the camera. It took him what seemed like minutes to tear his eyes away from the TV screen to look up at the camera! What I captured was a forced smile from a self-centered individual who didn’t show any appreciation for his fans wanting only to meet him.

The saying “smile and the whole world smiles with you” doesn’t always apply. The smile needs to be sincere!

Zappos Does Deliver Happiness

I am in Las Vegas this week mixing a little business with pleasure. I had the opportunity to speak to the franchise organization Any Lab Test Now at their annual conference. They are a great group of franchisees that are stepping into the social technology world and I enjoyed giving them the big picture view to get them started.

Since I am in Vegas I registered for the Zappos tour which by the way is free. My tour started with Julie, a Zappos employee picking me up at my hotel. It is a short ride to the Zappos facility but I got to know a little about Julie. She moved to Vegas 22 years ago, has two children almost college age, has worked at Zappos for four years and absolutely loves it and admires Tony Hsieh tremendously.  We talked a little about Tony and she shared with me that he is a “humble, kind and very generous man.” Julie was very personable and her passion for Zappos was very evident. On our way back Julie and I did our version of the Zappos Happiness rap by the van.


Zappos Happiness Rap with Julie (Employee)


If you have not read Delivering Happiness, A Path to Profits, Passion, and Passion I recommend that you do. If you are in Vegas then add the tour on your to do list! Number one on the Zappos “10 core values” list is: Deliver WOW Through Service and #3 is: Create Fun and a Little Weirdness. I was totally WOWed by the tour from the very beginning. John was our tour guide and he gave a quick overview of the company and culture. We moved from department to department where we were greeted with applause, gifts, smores and even a chance to sit in the royalty chair. I loved the cubicles and how employees decorate their work space.

Zappos does deliver happiness with their online ordering, great customer service and makes you feel like royalty with their tour!